Why do etailers get the blame for everything?

Soapbox: Stop pointing the finger at online retailers

Every month we invite a member of the industry to anonymously air their grievances about whatever winds them up…

Why do people blame eretailers for everything? Yes Amazon and eBay have too much sway over vendors and customers alike, but there’s a lot of little guys out there too, my own business included, and we’re not taking away any business from you. No more than any other retailers around.

But if I go to a retail event and mention what I do, huffs and glares come my way, as if I’m stealing pounds from pockets just by virtue of having a website.

I had a bricks and mortar shop once and gave it up due to the high rents. But now it’s gone I can see the benefits it gave me over a website alone.

I had a stable base that customers could come back to – it was relatively easy to build a relationship with them. As long as I could get up in the morning, we opened – no worries about hosting services falling over. When the town did well, I got a boost too. If I got bored, I could wander into the shop next door and say hello. My costs are lower now, but my chances of building a customer base are lower too.

If you think it’s hard to have a shop and grab sales from Amazon and co, think how hard it is when you have a website! At least your customers might choose to pay over online prices for the advantage of seeing products in the flesh before purchase. My customers are already on the internet. Amazon truly is next door.

I can cut prices and hope that some buyers stumble onto my site that way, but only the most determined have a chance of digging below pages of Amazon or eBay results on Google to find me.

Hate on the big boys if you must, but don’t blame everyone who operates online for your lack of sales. As for my next steps, I’m thinking of opening a shop again. Wish me luck.

Does something in the industry wind you up? Send your anonymous rant to laura.barnes@intentmedia.co.uk

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